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Slow PrintLiterary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture$
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Elizabeth Carolyn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804784085

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804784085.001.0001

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Measured Revolution

Measured Revolution

Poetry and the Late Victorian Radical Press

(p.167) Chapter 4 Measured Revolution
Slow Print
Stanford University Press

This chapter analyzes poetry published in the radical press. Poetry helped situate radical ideals within the familiar forms and rhythms of the past and to claim poetic tradition as a precapitalist formation. The implied political value of poetry was in its potential to draw together readers of the radical press into a separate alternative culture made familiar by appeals to the past and brought to life by appeals to oral forms. Print remained the most obvious means of forming and interpellating a public, but poetry and song held the promise of rendering the communion of print into the realm of live voice and live action. The chapter surveys poetry from a number of radical journals and sections detailing the poetry of the Commonweal and the poetry of Tom Maguire—a working-class Leeds socialist and labor organizer who published in a range of radical journals, sometimes under the pen name Bardolph. Through its rendering of the relationship between tradition (language and poetic form) and change (the poems' revolutionary themes), radical press poetry theorized a particular vision of cultural change: that one can engage and transform dominant culture from within the forms of that culture. Anticipating modernist poetry's emphasis on rupture, poetry of the radical press developed its own theory of cultural rupture with a distinct politics of form.

Keywords:   radical press poetry, Commonweal, Tom Maguire, Bardolph, cultural change

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